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[Editorial] Cheong Wa Dae “Busan Seagulls”

Posted April. 27, 2005 23:27,   


The vacant Cheong Wa Dae vice-spokesman position has been filled by former Uri Party Busan spokesman Choi In-ho. It is said that with this appointment, every one of President Roh Moo-hyun’s Busan friends is now in Cheong Wa Dae. The Cheong Wa Dae lineup of the president’s assistants from Busan, some of whom have assisted for several decades, is now complete.

Some call them the Busan Seagulls, and the “cores” of this group consists of presidential chief secretary for political affairs Moon Jae-in, System Improvement Secretary Lee Ho-cheol, Document Recording Secretary Jung In-hwa, Administrator Song In-bae of the Innovation Promotion Team, and Jeong Yoon-jae of the Prime Minster’s Office. Some believe that these members will be the key players during the last half of President Roh’s administration.

It is understandable that the president would want to keep people he knows around him. The problem is that because of their close relationships with each other and the president, the nation’s important policy decisions may follow one path.

The danger is in group thinking. It is difficult to be frank and there is no competition because they know each other well and think alike. Four of these people have been the student body president in the same school, and call each other “brother” in private.

The fact that “Oil Gate” was reported late should be a lesson to all. There are suspicions that Lee Gwang-jae, Park Nam-chun, and Cheon Ho-sun, who all are friends, have been “watching each other’s back and have purposefully delayed and omitted” reporting the incident.

This is what I would like to tell “Busan Seagulls.” Please be direct to the president. They must think whether the lack of such frankness is the cause of the president’s slips. Rather than follow beliefs, they must study more to become experts in their areas, and widen their views to a global perspective. This must happen and then the president, the government, and the country will move in the right direction. Even the radicals agree with this candid advice.